Oral historian Jean Freedman interviewed Sarah Harris on May 24, 2002 in Baltimore, Maryland as part of the Jewish Women's Archive "Weaving Women's Words" project.
Sarah Kappelman Harris divides her life into three parts: her family, her work with Hadassah, and her work with HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). Born in 1910 to Russian immigrant parents and raised as an Orthodox Jew, Sarah attended Goucher College, graduating with a degree in Romance Languages in 1930. She taught Latin and worked at the May Company clothing store before marrying Leroy Kappelman in 1938. Sarah dedicated herself to raising her three daughters, Marsha, Victoria, and Carol, while volunteering for Jewish community organizations. Through her local and national leadership roles in Hadassah, Sarah met many prominent people, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Hubert Humphrey, and Henrietta Szold. At HIAS, Sarah performed work that deeply touched her heart, meeting new immigrants as they arrived in Baltimore. Following the death of her first husband, Sarah married Herbert Harris in 1980. Sarah has lived in accordance with her conviction that Jewish women are essential in transmitting Judaism to their families.
Sarah Harris photo: Credit Joan Roth. Joan Roth's website
In the early 2000s, the Jewish Women's Archive conducted oral history interviews with 30 Jewish women living in Baltimore and another 30 in Seattle. Born in the early decades of the 20th century, these women lived through decades of political, social, and economic upheaval, as well as dramatic changes in expectations and opportunities for women. Doctors and lawyers, teachers and saleswomen, judges and social workers, homemakers and community volunteers, the narrators represent a wide range of backgrounds, affiliations, and experiences of American Jewish women. To find out more and to see the online exhibits based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/baltimore and Jewish Women's Archive/seattle
The complete audio recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive.
This project was made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Brenda Brown Lipitz Rever Foundation, and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Inc. In Baltimore, the project was a collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Maryland; in Seattle, with the Museum of History and Industry.